Dan and Jennifer Gilbert at Thursday’s press conference. (BridgeDetroit photo by Bryce Huffman)

Dan and Jennifer Gilbert on Thursday announced plans to donate $500 million to invest in neighborhoods across the city, starting with $15 million to pay down the back property taxes of as many as 20,000 Detroiters who could face tax foreclosure.

This story also appeared in Detroit Free Press


The Gilbert Family Foundation is working with the Wayne Metro Community Action Agency to administer the program. Here’s how the program works, based on what Wayne Metro is telling homeowners who may qualify at www.waynemetro.org/propertytax. Wayne Metro also tells interested homeowners to call 313-244-0274.


Wayne Metro says this funding is for “Detroit homeowners who LIVE IN and OWN their homes and are struggling with property tax debt.” Homeowners must meet specific income requirements to qualify.

Enroll in existing programs first

To qualify, homeowners must first be approved to receive a property tax exemption from the city of Detroit and be enrolled in a Wayne County program that aims to reduce homeowners back tax debt.

The Homeowners Property Tax Assistance Program is the city’s property tax exemption program. It exempts qualifying homeowners from their property taxes or lowers their tax bill for the current year (not previous years), based on household income or circumstances.

For the full tax exemption, a family of two must have income that is less than $21,205. The maximum income for a partial exemption of 25% is $26,205.

Wayne Metro says it can connect qualifying homeowners who don’t already have the exemption with a counselor to help them apply for the program.

The second step is enrolling in Wayne County Treasurer’s Pay as You Stay program, to reduce a homeowner’s property tax debt. After that, Wayne Metro says it will connect homeowners with a property tax counselor who can work with the Detroit Tax Relief Fund to pay down the homeowner’s back taxes.

The nonprofit also will work with homeowners who go through the process to apply for the city’s property tax exemption in the future.

What you’ll be asked to get started

Interested homeowners can go to www.waynemetro.org/propertytax and fill out its “Detroit Tax Relief Fund Interest Form.” On that form they will be asked whether their home is their primary residence, the number of people who live in their home and whether their household income is lower than the maximum income for the city’s property tax exemption program, among other questions.

Qualifying homeowners also will then be asked for additional information including their home’s parcel ID, which is available on their most recent property tax bill.

Nushrat Rahman covers issues related to economic mobility for the Detroit Free Press and BridgeDetroit as a corps member with Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project.

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1 Comment

  1. I am a senior citizen, and I have been trying to seek help to repair electrical problems in my home. I have tried calling to get added to the grant wait list through the city, But none of my messages have been answered. Can you help me find a solution?

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